• January 1, 2012
  • By Leonard Klie Editor, Speech Technology and CRM magazines
  • FYI

Voice Rec Is a Pain Point with Vehicle Navigation Systems

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Vehicle owners continue to experience a high number of problems with factory-installed in-car navigation systems, and voice recognition is one of the key areas affecting customer satisfaction, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 U.S. Navigation Usage and Satisfaction Study, released in late November.

The study identified six factors that contribute to overall satisfaction with these systems. In order of importance, they are ease of use, routing, display screen, speed, voice output for directions, and voice recognition.

The study also measures quality by examining problems per 100 (PP100) navigation systems, in which a lower score reflects higher quality.

On average, owners of factory-installed navigation systems experienced 351 PP100 in 2011. The eight most-frequently reported issues, which account for more than 50 percent of problems reported overall, were:

  • Address/street/city not found (33 PP100);
  • Difficulty inputting destination (32 PP100);
  • Route provided was not direct (24 PP100);
  • Difficulty using voice recognition controls (23 PP100);
  • Map doesn't show enough street names (21 PP100);
  • Couldn't find desired menu/screen (19 PP100);
  • Map or point of interest search was missing points of interest (16 PP100); and
  • Inability to view screen due to glare (14 PP100).

Topping the charts in customer satisfaction was the Dodge Charger's Garmin system, followed by the Hyundai-Mobis system in the Genesis coupe and the Garmin system in the Chrysler 300 series.

When it comes to the voice recognition systems, the problems are twofold, according to Andy Bernhard, director of the global automotive practice at J.D. Power and Associates and author of the report. "It's either with the recognition of commands or the lack of commands offered," he says.

The voice-based systems with the most functionality have the highest user satisfaction, Bernhard explains. "The systems with more commands tend to create higher satisfaction."

This is especially true as car makers and system manufacturers look to roll out a number of other in-vehicle controls, such as those for climate settings, music and entertainment systems, and phone connectivity, into one system. This only adds to the ease-of-use issues that owners experience with their navigation systems, the study concludes.

"There is a necessity in the industry to better understand how the complexity of interfaces and the implementation of navigation within the overall system impact the owner experience," Bernhard says. "Owners continue to demand a high level of technology, but it is through the integration of this technology into their day-to-day lives that both adoption and satisfaction will be influenced—and the industry continually appears to be missing the mark."

Car and system manufacturers can help ease customers into a system by providing a list of accepted commands, Bernhard says.

Also contributing to the overall dissatisfaction with in-vehicle voice controls is the fact that voice works so well in other settings, according to Bernhard. "Expectations are changing with voice recognition. Success in other devices is setting the bar high for car applications," he says. "We are just starting to see what voice can do, and customers expect the same in their vehicles."

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